Monday’s Mystery

Darn, nobody posted an answer to the last Mystery posting…the apparent WW II landing craft beached on the western shore of the Columbia River across from where the Spokane River merges. I even asked Google; nada. Ohwell, the answer is out there………….somewhere.

Here’s today’s mystery: What sort of bush/tree is this? I photo’d it growing in the Madison neighborhood on Lake Washington north of the U of W campus. Brought back memories of another place we lived. Ideas?

Spotlight on Okanogan Genealogy Society

I met with the dedicated and eager bunch of the Okanogan Genealogy Society members in early September. President Noma Wyllson arranged a lasagna dinner for the board (and me) at her home.

The youngsters at either end, Camden and Shaelyn Irwin, are grandchildren of a missing Board member, Peggy Oliver.  Others are, L to R: Peggy Murray, Maggie Mitschelen, Phil Brown, Karyl Hubbard, and president Noma, seated. (Two young people! How lucky that society is!)

The ginormous project the group has embarked upon is to created an online database of all the Okanogan County cemeteries (and Okanogan County is the biggest county in Washington), with the names and GPS locations of the burials. They are gleaning this information from a dozen sources. Ultimately, they would like to include a complete biography on each person and an interactive map on their website where you can click on an arrow for that cemetery. Talk about ambition!

As we chatted (and as a representative of the Washington State Genealogical Society), I also asked about the problems the society was having. Noma quickly quipped: “We were adrift and going nowhere and so I became president and took charge!” We agreed that a big project, like their cemetery project, would do wonders for the morale and growth of the society. Other “problems” were the usual ones: what’s the best day/time for the meetings and how to attract and keep members.

Sharon Liebert, of Wenatchee, is the WSGS Rep for Region 8, which includes this society and will be working to help them in any way she can.

Serendipity Friday

A drone to walk your dog?  Yep. A company in England has created a drone that has a built-in, retractable leash, and a hands-free pilot that uses GPS to walk your dog on the route you select. All for a mere $2300. The article does state that “a Great Dane probably could overpower the drone, while a Yorkie might be lifted into the air.”  Think I’ll sit on this awhile…..


Are you an alumni of WSU (Washington State University)? If so, you’re entitled to a free subscription to their Washington State Magazine which comes quarterly out of WSU in Pullman. Contact the Biographical & Records Team, PO Box 641927, Pullman WA  99164-1227 to state your subscription. For a $15 annual fee, you can subscribe if you’re not an alum.


What does it really mean to be healthy? A bit in a recent National Geographic Magazine from Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, explains emotional well-being is just as important as eating a healthy diet and staying active. So how do we fix that, Murthy was asked. “The first thing we need to change is how we think about emotions. Emotions are a source of power…. but too many people think of emotions as a source of weakness…. we must learn to cultivate emotional well-being tools such as sleep, physical activity, social connections, and contemplative practices like gratitude and meditation. Murthy’s bit was ended with his fear that the level of stress among people today is what kills emotional well-being. Something to think about for sure.

Wednesday’s Nostalgia

Who remembers milk and other dairy products being delivered to your front door, deposited in a metal box like this??  Boy, I surely do! The year was 1970, in Spokane, and the Darigold dairy still had a home delivery service. With three munchkins in the house, I was grateful for this help!

Tuesday’s Trivia

While I was out of town for those weeks, I had the great opportunity to visit the Hibulb Cultural Center, museum of the Tulalip people, near Arlington. Folks have done a really superb job with that museum and I learned so much about those early Washington peoples.

Two prominently displayed quotes caught my eye:

The salmon, they are not really fish at all; they are salmon people and they live in a village under the sea and come home to our rivers year after year.”

And this really, really good one appropriate for all society presidents:

“A true leader is a slave to the needs of his people.”

This really hit home to me for at that conference in Arlington, both Ginny Majewski (WSGS president) and I presented Society Management talks. A major point of my talk was that if you accept being on your gene society board, then you accept that for a period of time you will be a “slave” to your members……… you will be constantly thinking and planning for the betterment of your society. Your duty to your society will be #1 on your mind all the time. Or so I do believe.

Monday’s Mystery

Bet you really didn’t notice that three weeks ago I knew I was going to be out of town so I did posts dated ahead for the three weeks…. CONGRATS to Gary Parfitt who knew that the Aug 21st mystery place was the Ross Lake Resort. To Arlene Rowden, Phyllis Griffith and Sonji Ruttan for recognizing it was Spokane (Aug 14th) through that smoke-haze. And several of you commented on the Aug 7th post about apples. Thank you all for reading my posts. I encourage all of you to read, to comment and to read the comments

Today’s mystery is a doozey and probably one that nobody can solve.

Hubby and I were boating on the Columbia River/Lake Roosevelt near where the Spokane River empties in. We went a few miles up the east side and then down the west side. It was along there that I spotted this…. to my ken it looks like a World War II landing craft……. see the end flipped down? It was metal and the right size for such a guess. How on earth and why on earth was THIS THERE????

Idea for YOUR society? EWGS Annual Retreat Report

On Sunday afternoon, August 27th, we all gathered at the lovely home of Patricia Bayonne-Johnson, president of the Eastern Washington Genealogical Society. “We” were the EWGS Board and all the committee chair persons. (EWGS made the leap a year or so ago to include the committee chairs at all our Board functions; make them know they’re needed and appreciating their input).   President Pat had an agenda which she emailed ahead of time (and before that, asked for agenda items to be included). This meeting, this retreat, is the most important meeting of the EWGS  Board and Committee Chairs all year. 

All the jobs and projects were discussed; every Board member and Chair person gave an update and report on their position, problems and projects. The biggest thing we accomplish at this meeting is to thrash out a roster of programs for the coming year. We feel it’s patently unfair to dump such a huge job on one person so everybody attending is expected to bring ideas. Once roughed out, the list is turned over to the program chair for implementation. This works wonderfully well for us.

About mid-way through the afternoon, we paused for snacks, brought by everybody to share. Pat provided coffee and bottled water.

We would 100% recommend this idea to you for your society management. If you do try this idea, I’d enjoy hearing from you as to how it helped.

Spotlight: Pend Oreille County Historical Society

In July, 2017, I took some nearly-blind friends on a memory road trip to the places where he grew up. So we drove north from Spokane to Newport, Washington, and Spirit Lake, Idaho. John was born in 1927 and his father worked at the Panhandle Lumber Company in Spirit Lake. John remembers the day in 1938 that the mill burned down. It was a Friday and he and school chums were to play a concert at the local city park bandstand. There was a forest fire nearby and the sparks ignited the lumber yard. John said “we just stood and watched.”

Anyway, John had made an appointment with Faith McClenny, the head volunteer researcher in the Pend Oreille County Historical Society in Newport. She had consulted the index to The Newport Miner, the weekly newspaper in publication since 1897, and marked several references for him regarding the history of lumber mills in the area and some about is mill of interest. We also were directed to the Index of the Lumber Industry of Washington’s Pend Oreille Valley, by David H. Chance, published in 1991. What a marvelous 325-page reference to the principle industry in the area which greatly fostered settlement.

Faith has been working with Pend Oreille County records for over twenty years, she proudly told me. She has an Arcadia Publishing book on the county to her credit too.  She showed me around the historical collections and I took notes, wishing I had all day to stay and search.

Continue reading

Friday Serendipity

Most everybody in the world of today’s genealogy knows of Thomas MacEntee, the Tech Guru and All Around Crazy Guy.

Thomas is a nationally-in-demand speaker and (I’m so proud to say) is one of the main presenters for the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour. (  He recently announced some big changes in his business model and what he offers to all of us and how he offers it to us. I asked him for a re-cap and now share it with you:

How Is SLCT Instructor Thomas MacEntee Spending His Summer?

Well besides trips to Southern California, too many visits to Reno to visit some one-armed bandits, Thomas has been busy retooling and reprogramming his genealogy business and various websites. Here’s an update directly from Thomas:

  • As of June 1st, Thomas has stopped updating his site and has transferred much of the community organizing efforts to a new group named GeneaBloggers Tribe( The new group is run by Pat Richley-Erickson (aka Dear Myrtle) and focuses on resources for genealogy bloggers. So why did Thomas decide to leave the blogging community after starting GeneaBloggers in 2009? As he says, “I didn’t leave blogging as much as I realized that over the past eight years the genealogy community has gained knowledge of many social media skills including blogging. I felt that my energies were better directed towards education involving genealogy methodology and working with those new to family history.”
  • Thomas’ new site Genealogy Bargainslaunched in March 2017 and is now his main focus. Genealogy Bargains posts daily deals and coupons on products such as AncestryDNA, 23andMe, genealogy books and webinars. You can save as much as 80%! So before you click that CHECKOUT button, remember to visit Genealogy Bargains at
  • And what about DNA and genealogy? Well Thomas has hopped on the bandwagon with his new site DNA Bargainswhich debuted a week before National DNA Day which is April 25th. Not only will you find the best deals on DNA test kits, but you’ll find his reviews and opinions about each test. Visit DNA Bargains at to figure out which DNA test is right for you and your genealogy research.
  • And finally, Thomas has gathered up all his other small sites (Hack Genealogy, High-Definition Genealogy and others) into one umbrella site called Abundant Genealogy. The new site provides information on the genealogy industry PLUS Thomas posts many “freebies” such as downloads of his popular e-books in both Amazon Kindle and PDF versions.

We all know Thomas is a busy guy and he says that he’s looking forward to teach classes at the upcoming Salt Lake Christmas Tour in December with several new presentation topics. What’s the best way to follow Thomas and keep track of all his content? Sign up for his free genealogy and technology e-newsletter at

Wednesday Nostalgia

Ah, the country doctor with his black bag. Always on call, always on horseback, always at bedsides. But how much real doctoring was he able to do? What did he carry in that doctor’s black bag?

Asking Grandma Google (smile) and finding a list on a British website, Steampunk Forum, I share it with you:


The Gladstone, or General Doctor’s Bag, generally had less than you might imagine. The Doctor of 1880-1900 did not regularly carry that much in the way of actual medicine beyond what he expected to use on the specific patient. 

You would normally find the following:
Ear Trumpet or Stethoscope 
Folding Magnifying Glass
Small kit of Scalpels
Small selection of forceps and tweezers and scissors
A small sewing kit, using “catgut” sutures
Syringes and needles kit for injections
Syringe for Lavage
sevveral sizes of Speculum
Ear “spoon”
Small kit of Probes
Possibly one or more “cupping” devices
Alcohol lamp
Possibly small glass bottles or jars and/or slides to collect samples,
perhaps several leather straps to use as tourniquets or restraints
Small number of opiate or morphine based ampules.
or ampules for “Cocaine and Adrenalin Solution”

Antiseptics and Antibiotics were not available until after ca 1900 or later.

Surprisingly you would not find bandages and the sort of things you see in a modern EMT kit. Bandages were far to bulky for a Doctor to carry, and he would rely upon the patient’s family to provide them. Cleanliness was optional, and Sterility was unheard of. Even up until the 1890’s Doctors had to be vigorously encouraged to wash their hands between patients, and few bothered with alcohol sterilization.